The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a study examining the coverage of the Presidential candidates, including 10 Republican contenders, as well as President Obama. The study looked at the amount of positive, neutral and negative coverage each candidate received from media outlets, including from cable and broadcast news organizations.
According to the PEJ survey, the candidates generating the most positive coverage were Teas Governor Rick Perry, Former VP nominee Sarah Palin (who has decided not to run, it should be noted) and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The candidates with the most negative coverage were President Obama and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Among the other findings:
Debates, now growing in number, are having an impact on the media narrative, perhaps because the candidates find themselves in less scripted encounters during these events. The study finds that debates have coincided with some notable shifts in tone of coverage. The June 13 CNN debate, for instance, produced some good reviews and a boost in status for Michele Bachmann while furthering doubts about Tim Pawlenty. And some difficult debate performances, most notably on September 22, have injected some critical coverage into what had been very favorable media treatment of Rick Perry.
You can check out the study, here.
Update: Newsbusters argues that the PEJ study has a number of severe flaws here. Newsbusters is unabashadly conservative, but they make some very compelling arguments.